“I am an artist because I love to paint. I was blessed with a talent. It’s a gift. Art chose me, and that makes me one of the luckiest people I know. I love what I do. I am grateful for the chance to be an artist, and I am most grateful to the people who make my good fortune possible.”
Harry was born in Pahala, a small plantation town in the Ka’u district on the island of Hawai’i in the year 1952. “I did not realize it at the time, but as I look back, I grew up in a rather unique situation. My family had been involved in the sugar cane business for generations, so I was born into the sugar plantation environment. Being a haole born in Hawai’i in the fifties is not exactly rare, but uncommon. It was a great way to grow up.”
A mostly self-taught artist, Harry works with oils and would consider his style to be realistic, or representational. “I think growing up where I did and how I did has been influential on the type of art I do. But, I also think if you are blessed with a talent, you could grow u p anywhere and be an artist. Locality most probably molds the type or style of art one does. Mine is quite realistic, and people are often enamored by my attention to detail, but I must say, it is more of a device to give a painting credibility rather than what the piece is really about. Realism accommodates viewers. It helps them to “enter” a painting. Growing up here has given me the knowledge of how things are supposed to look so that they can be accurately depicted. Technique attaches someone to a piece, but it not the purpose of the painting. What matters – the real message – is the feeling or emotion evoked.
For example, I love being on the beach early in the morning – first light; the cool but not cold morning air; the crisp clarity of the morning sky; and the water, gin-clear, not yet rippled by mid-morning thermals. It is a refreshing, rejuvenating feeling – peaceful. So when I want to paint this feeling, I start out with a beach. Now, this beach may be in my imagination, or may really exist, but either way I’ll create a credible scene. Either I’ll represent the beach with enough accuracy to make it recognizable or I’ll depict it with such foliage and geographical characteristics that it may actually exist; hidden somewhere. If accepted by the viewer, it gives them the sense that they are actually experiencing what they are looking at visually and emotionally. They are there. If they can really feel their feet in the water, or hear the small waves lapping at the shore, then I have done my job. It’s nice to be able to escape into a painting. It is entertaining and therapeutic, much like a good book or movie.”